One of the members of our church bought me the book The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out without Selling Out by Mark Driscoll. I have wanted to read this book since finishing Driscoll’s second book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. As I am reading through the book, I will be posting some thoughts here on the blog. So here is my take on the Introduction:
Just in the introduction, Driscoll highlights a fatal flaw in most churches – the lack of understanding that we are, whether we want to be or not, a part of a synergy of three primary influences: the Gospel, the culture and the church. How we combine these three or ignore one or more of them determines what a church’s mission will be.
If we focus on the gospel in our culture but ignore the Biblical church then we produce parachurch organizations. These are organizations that might be doing great things and people are becoming Christians but does not give them any kind of true church structure in which to grow and be built-up.
In contrast, if we have church and culture without an emphasis on the Gospel, then we have theological liberalism. This takes many forms in the religious landscape, but ultimately the result is the same. People love others but have no concern for the God of the Bible.
Third, if you focus on the Gospel and the church but forget the culture, you produce fundamentalism. (I mean this in the closed-minded, self-focused, “us four and no more” sense.) These groups of people will accept anyone who first accepts their culture, but they do not think of the culture in their presentation. They are often spiritual weirdos walking around with well-thumbed King James Version Bibles but with little or no genuine love for people outside their group.
A properly balanced church should understand that we are to gather together (church), devote ourselves to loving God (Gospel) and loving the people around us (culture). These three things compose the matrix into which we live and minister.
To borrow from Andy Stanley on this as well, we have to Clarify Our Win. We have to decide what it is we do and then figure out how to do it most effectively. Too many of us define our win as “preaching the Bible” or “developing community” or “being relevant to our culture.” These things are just steps, not actually what we do.
So, what do we do?